By: Evelyn Salazar
O.A.R. is still killing it like it’s 1996. That’s when the rock band originally formed but you wouldn’t be able to tell, because the band is still so alive and filled with so much energy. You can see how happy they are to play, almost as if it’s their first big show, which is definitely not the case. Last Friday, Red Butte Garden was packed with fans of all ages, eager to enjoy a nice night and a good show. It definitely was a great show!
There were two openers, Rozzi and American Authors. I unfortunately didn’t get there on time to see Rozzi’s performance, but by the time American Authors had started playing there was already a large crowd formed. People at Red Butte don’t mess around! The lawn was covered with blankets and seats filled with friends and families. Towards the front is where all the standing fans were, ready to dance. And that’s exactly what they did when American Authors came on. They opened up with “I Wanna Go Out” and really started to get everyone into the groove! The energy that lead singer, Zac Barnett, has is insane. He’s so much fun to watch on stage. Last time I saw American Authors in SLC was back in 2014, so it’s been a while, but I remembered the band having so much charisma and energy and that hadn’t changed at all.
I was surprised to see how many people that were there were American Authors fans! The crowd sang along to every song, including myself! I love it when opening bands are just as strong as the headliners. I almost forgot there was another band after them! They had a decently long setlist and did a fantastic job of interacting with the crowd. Barnett came off stage several times, walking along the rim of the stage. At one point he even ran into the crowd, danced with fans, gave someone a chess bump, and sang in the middle of the lawn. It was epic. American Authors told the audience how beautiful Utah is and how it’s always a pleasure to be back. Barnett also praised Red Butte’s beautiful venue and scenery. They ended strong, having the whole crowd jumping up and down together. It was crazy!
Now that everyone was pumped and filled with energy, they were ready for O.A.R. to come on stage, and when they did, the crowd went wild. Screams from every direction and smiles on all faces. There’s something really special about bands who are still around and touring after being around for decades! For a lot of people, it takes them back to simpler days. Nostalgia can be a wonderful feeling and seeing O.A.R. was exactly that for some fans. Longtime fan, Martha Campos, 38, said, “I love O.A.R.! I remember blasting their music 10 years ago and falling in love! I still am!”
O.A.R.’s stage presence was great. You can tell they are pros. They know exactly what they’re doing up there on stage and how to put on a good show for their fans. Interacting with the crowd well, and thanking everyone for coming out is always a good feeling. It was a lot of fun watching the band members dance around on stage, really getting into their own music. Lead singer, Marc Roberge’s voice is beautiful and wonderful to hear live. There’s so much soul and passion in their performance and the fans recognize that.
Red Butte Garden was the perfect venue choice. I have never been there before but wow, what a beautiful venue. The scenery is breathtaking, surrounded by the mountains and watching the sunset was gorgeous. It was a cool summer night and amphitheaters are honestly my favorite. It’s so refreshing outside and watching the crowd sing along as the sky turns dark blue, and the stage lights do some magic is a beautiful thing to witness. All and all, this show was a success. And one that fans will remember.